Cybercrime Goes Viral
By Deanna Glick - January 26, 2011
There’s no sign of cybercrime slowing down. But while ongoing threats such as old-school spam and web exploits will continue this year, perpetrators are expected to dig deeper into the world of social networking.
"The scale of malicious activity on Facebook appears to be out of control," security expert Graham Cluley of Sophos said in a recent PC World Magazine article.
Facebook clearly isn't alone in the malware battle, according to another article at SearchEngineWatch.com. Twitter has faced issues related to its shortened URLs and the spread of viruses -- and we can be sure that both of these popular social media sites will remain prime targets for cyber thieves.
The outlook for the next year involves as much reason as there’s ever been for employing strong safety and security measures when it comes to surfing the Web.
Know Thine Enemies
PC Magazine put together a few predictions for 2011 when it comes to the battle against cybercriminals.They are:
Mobile malware. Though "the year of mobile malware" has reached running joke status in the tech world, the prediction stands. Just no more than it did any other year.
Smaller botnets will become more prevalent. Last year saw takedown attempts against botnets (a collection of software agents, or robots, that run autonomously and automatically); some were successful. Command and control structures will become more layered and complex and the botnets themselves smaller.
Spam will become more global. The population with Internet access in places like Brazil is growing so large that spam in languages other than English will rise above 10 percent of the total. The growth of spam from developing nations will also grow.
Usurping URL shortening services. While not an entirely new concept, attackers will get more ambitious and perhaps take over an entire service, abusing link results.
Hackers will exploit router vulnerabilities. Malware-abusing known vulnerabilities in Internet-facing routers are expected.
Rogue marketplace vendors will exploit online digital currencies. Social networking sites will introduce virtual currencies, a la gaming sites, resulting in scams and black-market trading of the currencies.
Increased global collaborative takedowns. An increase in coordinated efforts to take down botnets and other organized Internet crimes is expected.
64-bit malware. The number of 64-bit systems has grown and malware targeting these systems should be more common in 2011.
Vulnerable bank accounts. Human mules will be replaced by malware that does the equivalent job of transferring balances between accounts using keystroke-logged credentials.
More advanced IM threats. The prediction is that they’ll be directed at the use of webcams and audio. Webcam-logging and audio-logging will become just as popular as keystroke-logging.
Defending Your Turf
Clearly, no one should get too comfy when it comes to transacting online. And knowing the risks is only half the battle. Several options exist for increased online security.
Anti-virus, malware and spyware software can go a long way to keeping your PC safe. Additional products can offer another shield against cybersecurity threats. SafeCentral, LifeLock and MyPrivacy offer protection anti-virus software alone doesn’t deliver, including helping to protect online transactions and personal information.
While online safety concerns remain high in 2011, the right knowledge and security measures can protect you from most of the threats lurking in cyberspace.